A Syrian-born U.S. citizen charged with smuggling rifle scopes, night-vision goggles, bulletproof vests and other gear from the United States to Islamic militants in his native country has pleaded guilty.

Amin al-Baroudi entered the plea Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He acknowledged that from December 2011 to March 2013 he and others exported equipment to Syria for the purpose of supplying Syrian insurgent groups. Prosecutors said the groups' aim is to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad.

Anthony Capozzolo is an attorney for al-Baroudi. He said his client's actions were "done for the sole purpose of protecting innocent civilians."

Sentencing is scheduled for May 6. Prosecutors say he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.